Lots of notable Pitt news from the past week. Last Friday, The Panther Pitt, the newly-organized student section movement was announced. Yesterday, training camp kicked off, signifying the near arrival of college football season. What we're going to look at, however, is what happened in the middle. Sandwiched in between the flashy news of the weekend, it was announced late Friday that quarterback Mark Myers was leaving the program and offensive tackle Juantez Hollins was suspended for the year. Wowza. Big stuff there and extremely impactful for Pitt in 2012. How's it positive, how's it negative? Find out after the jump.
Surprisingly, as soon as I heard the news on Friday, the first thing that popped into my mind was positive. Good for Paul Chryst. No, it's never good to lose a starting offensive lineman for a year. But with the suspension of Hollins, Coach Chryst made a statement. A powerful one. There's no question who's in charge now. Chryst is the head honcho - and while's he's developed the reputation as a player's coach - the players are going to be held accountable by him. That's what I like to see.
I liked the Chryst hiring, but admittedly I was a bit worried that, being a soft-spoken, first-time head coach, Chryst would have a hard time asserting himself and keeping the players disciplined. All my worries vanished as soon as this news broke. A year long suspension, in my mind, is worse than getting kicked off the team. Not only can Hollins not play, but he still has to go through the grind of workouts and practices while maintaining academic standing. Chryst set the tone for his expectations with this suspension, and while it's not ideal to be losing a starting lineman, I applaud the decision. I really do. Paul Chryst's presence as Pitt's head coach is skyrocketing after this.
Bear (downward trending): Quarterback Depth
Last week, we looked at Tino Sunseri and the questions surrounding his performance this season. Now with the Myers transfer, Pitt's quarterback situation is looking very unsettled - and very shallow. Myers was slated to be a solid backup to Sunseri this year - probably number two in my opinion - but now that job will fall to either Trey Anderson or Chad Voytik, neither of whom is ready.
We all saw last year what Anderson can do. Run, sort of quickly, and that's it. The guy is short and he was brought in by Todd Graham to run a quick, spread offense. He really doesn't fit into Chryst's offense at all, so I don't feel too comfortable with him. Then there's Voytik, the heralded freshman recruit. Voytik may become very good one day (and I certainly hope he does) but for the time being he's a freshman. An 18 year old kid. Despite his obvious skills, the chances of him mastering the offense and leading the team as a true frosh are low.
Unless Sunseri gets hurt or absolutely stinks he's going to be the
quarterback game manager for the Panthers this year. I'm okay with that. But if Tino goes down and a backup needs to come in, the field is now pretty thin behind him. Something to cautiously keep in mind.